Betting from My Bed

Betting from My Bed
I'm not sure if I should talk about this. 

I remember once seeing John McCrirrick on TV, it was a Sunday, and he was working from his bed. It was like a lay-in but getting on with the day's work, too. A number of tabloids spread about, a pot of tea, laptop resting on his legs, covered by a blanket, as he sat upright, next to him the Boobie (what he fondly called his wife). 

He was always his own man and I liked that about him. 

I hope I have detailed this scene correctly as it was many years ago. 

My old brain isn't what it used to be. 

Anyway, I find I am working more and more from my bed. 

I'm not sure if it is laziness or comfort. It could be both. Considering I'm a productive person I wouldn't put it down to laziness. It sounds slovenly. A sloth-like character, moving so-so slow, tapping keys on the keyboard, and the space bar is on delay. My little face beaming brightly like I've found a pot of honey up a tree. Or is it a raspberry cheesecake. 

And you thought only porn stars worked from their bed. 

Working from the comfort of the crib is a luxury few people can enjoy. 

Get a cup of tea, a slice of cake, and get ready for the next horse race to start. 

My bedroom is very stylish and has the look of an upmarket hotel. So I feel like I'm on vacation. Without the sea view. Unfortunately. 

Perhaps one day I won't be able to get out of bed. Old age struck me down like a sloth falling out of the branches of a tree. As long as my brain works, my fingers move (just a little) I can, hopefully, make a living from the skills I have acquired over the years. 

So the next time someone says they earn a living from the comfort of their bed. Don't raise your eyebrows in surprise. Because something tells me that more people than you imagine actually work from nine-to-five in their kingsize billet. 

I can feel a yawn coming on. 

Read our last post: The Gambler's Zero-Cost Hotel

The Bald Bloke & Dating Agency

Nothing is what it seems. 

Do you believe that people who make lots of money have laser focus, finding their niche and can, almost, see into the future?

It's all based on intelligence and being the wisest owl in a barn of owls. 

What do you think?

This is the assumption most people hold. The layman, you and me. We fall into the illusory hole that this is the way most people make lots of money while others fail miserably. It's like a Victorian thought that people who begged on the street were there simply because they were stupid rather than the fact they had few if any life chances. The Lord of the Manor wasn't, fundamentally, any different to the homosapien who was similarly made of blood, sweat and tears. 

This assumption is very often wrong.  

Often these individuals or companies aren't particularly gifted to the point they were correct about much at all. 

In fact, their original business idea evolved into something different and may even have taken a very illogical path to great fortune. 

This could well be the case for your gambling insight too. Because that original idea may well evolve to something you didn't even consider. 

I've heard this story many times before. 

For example, Viagra was originally developed as a cure for baldness. It was only when subjects were asked for their feedback that a good few men and their partners had a glint in their eye, if not a big smile on their faces. 

''By the way, I did notice something unusual.''

Quickly the thought of considering baldness was swiftly forgotten with the thought of making exceptional profits with an erection via a pill. 

It's a similar story with YouTube. It was always going to be a platform for uploading videos but in those early days the creators were looking to make the platform more popular and it was something akin to a dating platform. In fact, adverts were placed on Craig's List for young, nubile women to make videos of themselves to be uploaded on YouTube for the fee of $100. It was only later that they realised this was a bad idea and the uploading of videos took off under its own steam. 

Within a year, YouTube's founders sold the company to one of Google's subsidiaries for $1.65 billion. 

The story is very similar to Pixar who make all these amazing computer-generated films. For years the company made no money at all and Steve Jobs had to put his hand in his pocket based on the hope and dream of those who hoped technology would catch up with what simply couldn't happen at the time. From a part of the company that looked to have little hope of progressing anywhere it become the dominant money maker.

The tale of this story is to appreciate that the best ideas aren't born from that initial inception. They often evolved over time taking direction from pure luck and serendipity. 

If you want to learn more about this phenomenon, then you may wish to read Peter Sim's book Little Bets

What better subject matter for gambler with a dream.

Read our last post: It's About Positive Reinforcement 

Grosvenor Casino: Cyber Attack

It's a problem that seems to happen more and more. 

An email from Grosvenor Casino: Important Information About Your Account. 

There's me thinking I'd been given 1 million free spins, a £100 match bet or an invitation to meet the Queen and talk about the flop. 

Sadly, not. 

They have been a victim of a cyber attack. An anonymous third party. The police have been informed and all relevant parties. 

I'm one of the ''lucky'' 1040 clients who had ''limited customer data'' stolen and ''we don't expect anything further to come from this''. 

Great. 

You have to smile when reading the comments: ''Please be aware that if you contact us, we will undertake enhanced verification of your identity before discussing your account''.

There's me sitting here phone in hand, wearing my jail suit, swag bag perched over my shoulder, and a file in a cake just in case I'm arrested for being me while the infamous cyber attacker is having a cream tea at the Ritz. 

Someone saw a tall, short human being, a talkative deaf mute, with short-but-long-thinning hair, sashaying towards Kensington.

If you have any questions, please contact us via details below. 

Is that to me or the cyber attacker?

Continued...

We would like to offer our apologies for this but would again like to assure you that we take the security of your Grosvenor membership details extremely seriously. 

Me: ''However, someone may well have your details and thinking about going to The Savoy later for a steak and chips.'' 

Note to the Grosvenor: If my details are found to have been used due to your lack of security or negligence I will be contacting Judge Judy. 

Cheers!

You Lucky Beggar: Tissue Begging

To be fair, if I had a cold and desperately needed the small pack of tissues placed on the unoccupied seat, I may well have been tempted to put a pound or the spare change from my pocket on offer, a rare smile appearing on the face of the mysterious tissue beggar.  

Next to the tissues, there was a little piece of paper, no bigger than a business card. I can't remember what it said word for word but it was along the lines: ''I'm looking for work and have a family to support so if you wish to help, then pleased give some money and in return I will give you a packet of tissues as a thank you.''

I wish I had kept the little note, but I left the printed card and tissues where I had found them. I had read the card, saw the tissues, and thought about the situation. 

Being from the countryside, I wasn't used to such things and slightly surprised by this happening. 

If the person had been walking about in dirty clothes and looked like they had slept rough I may well have placed a pound coin on the seat. 

However, the man in his mid-twenties looked very well dressed in a white t-shirt that was either brand new or been washed in Persil non bio powder. They looked as well off as anyone on the train if not a touch richer. 

I considered how generous I felt. 

After about ten minutes - probably the time it took to walk to the end of the train and back - the man appeared and picked up the tissues and note and disappeared out of view. 

Whether right or wrong, I was left with the impression the person wasn't hard-up, struggling for cash or had a family waiting at home with thoughts that my contribution or not would make a good or bad day. 

When I see people I often wonder what is their story?

I remember being in West Palm Beach, Florida, and seeing a homeless man, with a big bushy beard, pushing a trolley, and protruding, erect, was a piece of four-by-four wood and the stars and stripes flag waving proudly in the wind. The contrast of one thing and another made me question what on Earth I was seeing. It filled me with despair. I wished I could have stopped the car and got the full story because I really needed to know the score. A beggar in the land of opportunity. A patriotic soul down on his luck. It has to be one of the most mysterious, saddening and troubling images I've seen. Of course there are worse thing to see in a country with more guns than people. I said to Marlene: ''I wonder what is that man's story?'' She drove on not particularly bothered or concerned. I don't think she did this because she didn't care but in a world of rich and poor, those in between have enough to think about...

Like the tissue man, I couldn't help wonder what was his story.  

If I asked, it's unlikely I would get a truthful answer and even if I did I probably would believe it. 

I wasn't sure what to think about the whole experience. 

For them to be doing this, it must have been a payer. Perhaps they went home with a bundle of cash and lived a seemingly ''respectable'' life somewhere in London. I know this much, he could afford to get his t-shirt cleaned ten shades white and if I had placed a pound on the seat his smile may have been the same. 

On my return, waiting for the train from Kings Cross to Ely, I saw a number of homeless people. One walking about in a duvet as if wearing a coat. He looked warmer than most. A girl came up and asked if I would buy a copy of the Big Issue. She looked a bit down on her luck so I gave her £2. 

As quick as a flash, money in pocket, she said: ''That's my last one so can I have it back?''

Clearly understanding the odds that someone who was good enough to give £2 for a magazine to help was a soft enough touch to give both back for free she'd got me hook, line and sinker. That elusive last copy of the Big Issue was back on sale to the next dope on a rope. She must have walked away with a smile and, in the process, made a country bumpkin a little less rich. 

I didn't begrudge her enterprise. 

In truth, I think she was a better recipient than the tissue man. 

It's intriguing what people do for money. 

You can guarantee they are bloody good at it too. 

Desperation is a good motivator.

Read our last post: The Bonus of all Bonuses

The Bonus of all Bonuses

Watching TV. 

A program called Yianni: Supercar Customiser. Where owner Yianni Charalambous, a lovely real down-to-earth guy, helps transform the cars of the rich and famous by wrapping their vehicles to make them look even more bright and beautiful.

This episode featured the owner of Billericay Football Club, Glenn Tamplin, who wanted his impressive Ferrari wrapped in a design incorporating the home and away football kit. 

The car before and after looked amazing. 

How can you go wrong with a Ferrari? 

But what interested me more is the story of Glenn Tamplin. Without question, he is a very motivated man who has succeeded to own a very lucrative business AGP Steel. 

He lives in his Essex mansion which cost £20M and owns a fleet of luxury cars. 

He worked hard for his money and is very charitable too.

I love to hear how people make their money and what inspired them to success. 

He started out working as a salesman at the age of 16 - 25. In fact, he was the top salesman in the company with a company car, and happy with his lot. 

Every Christmas, employees were given a bonus. 

Tamplin had secured a £2M contract and was hopeful of a bonus of all bonuses.

He opened an envelope to see two £25 Argos vouchers!

Disillusioned,  he mortgaged his house for £50,000 and set up his own business. 

Today, his company has an annual turnover of £60M. 

Sometimes the worst bonus is the best bonus.

Read our last post: The Bald Bloke & The Dating Agency

It's About Positive Reinforcement

To be a successful gambler is a long, winding road without a map.

At times you may be on your hands and knees in the darkness with a feeling you are searching for the last casino chip left on planet Earth. You don't wake up one day to find you are a professional gambler. I takes years of living and learning. 

Most knowledge is built on trial and error. 

Then one day, you get a handle on something. A glimmer of light reveals something precious in the darkness. 

This happened with my brother and I a long time a go when we found our niche two-year-old horse racing. 

It's been a long, long road to understanding. 

You never stop learning. 

The best thing anyone can do in gambling and in life is build on the positives. If you don't have a reference point you don't have a starting point to work from. I can tell you this, without a niche you are lost. There simply isn't enough time in a day to know everything. I would worry if you said you wanted to do everything. Not only is it impossible it is pointless. When you can know one thing well, why would you need two?

You don't.

Building on the positives helps you move forward in a educated fashion. 

Even with building on the positives you will take one step forward and two back, before, in time, moving to the next level of understanding which, could, lead to you making money. 

The problem with most punters is that they never get to the point of understanding why they need to stick with what they know and enjoy. Without that passion, you will give up at the first time of difficulty or in frustration revert back to the good, old you which, sadly, knows nothing worth knowing. 

From what I have seen, this is the process of the majority of gamblers and reason why they never progress from that first bet often decades ago.

I often use the analogy of a student going to college for 30-years and finishing with the  same qualification as they started. While, your mate put his head on and is now a Dr of Horse Race Gambling with a hope and a prayer. 

It's your decision. 

But why when you are betting with your hard-earned cash wouldn't you want to improve your odds of winning?

It's ridiculous. 

I don't say those words to be critical because I want to help you. 

Gambling is as simple or difficult as you want to make it. 

The easy part is starting that journey on the right footing. From that point, you will need plenty of hard work to give yourself a fighting chance. 

If you can start from a positive or a negative, you know which of the two you need to focus. 

Build on the positives.

It will see you well.

Read more: How to lose a Million Gambling

How to Lose a Million Gambling

People gamble for a myriad of reasons. 

It may be a reason you haven't yet discovered, appreciate or understand. That sentence may  seem ridiculous. 

''I bet to win money!'' 

I guess that's the logical reason but if you get beyond the surface structure of anything there may be more to it than meets the eye. For most gamblers who bet a few quid here and there it might not matter. Although even a few quid lost each week can be a lot of money over a lifetime. I'm not going to tell you what to do. You're a grown up, you do as you do. I hope for your sake, especially if you have a family, you're responsible. 

I don't want to lecture anyone. I respect people who like a bet. I mean, I've been betting just about all of my adult life. It's something I have thought about much, considered wisely, and appreciate the pros and cons. 

Unlike many who bet, I'm not naive. 

Having little understanding of anything can be dangerous. You don't have the experience to appreciate why something is a terrible idea until you are in the middle of a problem which may change your life for the worse. 

To be fair, the majority of people I know don't bet big money. They don't bet big money because they don't feel comfortable pushing their luck. It's all about doing what feels right for you. It's your money, your life, and I respect that. 

In fact, I would never suggest anyone has a bet unless they appreciate the pros and the cons. 

The difficulty with that perspective is that for the newbie gambler that isn't going to happen. I very much doubt it is the way you started gambling or me. Even with myself being a very careful gambler in my younger years, how could I be anything but wet behind the ears. 

To be honest, as with most things in life, we need to learn a few lessons and those experiences are often needed to keep us on the straight and narrow, and perhaps although costly at the time, were a valuable if not cheap lesson to learn from. 

Who wouldn't rather learn a lesson for £5 compared to one that costs £50,000?

I've seen a few big bettors at the casinos. 

You get a strange mix at these places - form the celebrity, to the down and out, to the rich and those who just fancy a night out and bit of fun. 

Good luck to them all. 

I've seen a few gamblers who wouldn't bat and eye at betting a grand on the spin of the roulette wheel. 

I don't think it's the best idea. 

These bigger money gamblers have a very strange character. I can only describe them as emotionless. That worries me. It's a strange contrast when the bloke next to them is huffing and puffing at the loss of £50 when their grand went down the chute with it and you could have sworn they lost a tenner. 

Don't fall into the trap that the more someone bets the more they know. 

It's often the reverse. 

Anyone who bets at the casino - unless they are cheating or card counting or have some knowledge that isn't the norm - knows they are betting on fixed odds. The house edge is there to guarantee one person a profit. 

The casino. 

Not to say you cannot increase your chances of winning. 

However, that's a story for another day. 

If you are one of these bigger gamblers at the casino, even if you have a bucket-load of cash, you need to stop for a moment and think what you are doing.

Because my ten pound is your thousand pounds. Meaning, your normal bet is a grand and you bet like its a tenner going out of fashion. 

Believe it or not, but it doesn't take long to lose a million pounds gambling. 

In fact, it can happen in three or four years without too much trouble at all. 

Just because someone at the casino is betting a grand a spin doesn't mean they are a professional gambler, knowledgeable, sensible, astute, or any other word which gives the impression they know more than Joe Blogs nursing his stack of 50p chips. 

To be fair, the bloke betting the big money isn't doing himself any favours at all. 

And time may tell they lose all their money. 

You've heard of the big-time gamblers betting millions and then someone spots them driving an Uber cab because their broke. 

Or worse still, the random bloke who jumps off a multistory car park.  

At least if you gamble with little you may have a lot to gain. One thing is for sure if you are a millionaire the last thing you ever want to do is gamble big money. 

Why?

You have nothing to gain and everything to lose. 

Gambling isn't really the problem. It's the gambler who is so often the problem. And I can tell you this, if it wasn't gambling it would be something else. 

The wise man built his house upon the rocks. 

If you don't understand the good, bad and ugly of gambling - just give it some time. But you'll only appreciate what it is saying to you if you really want to listen. 

Gambling is no different to any business. While someone is going broke, that clever bloke down the road is making a killing. 

It's nothing to do with gambling - it's all about the person. 

If you want to make money gambling you need to start from small cash because you will appreciate the money you win. 

If you're a millionaire with a love of gambling then do yourself a favour and bet like your the poorest person in the room. 

Read our last post: Betting Like You Use Brut

Betting Like The Man Who Wears Brut

What does the late Henry Cooper and Vinnie Jones have in common?

Both hard men, the former definitely, the latter, probably more in words and attitude than throwing knockout punches. A duo of successful sportsmen who have made their mark and well-known names.  

Sir Henry Cooper renowned for knocking down Muhammed Ali in 1963, when many considered he was the rightful winner of the bout if not for a bit of jiggery pokery from the American's corner. 

I'll let you make your own mind up on that point. 

If he hadn't suffered from cuts, the Lambeth man may well have been the World Heavyweight title holder. However, he was still undefeated for 12 years as a British and Commonwealth champion. 

In his 55 fights, he achieved 40 wins, 27 by knockout and all-round good bloke who did a lot for charity. 

His last fight saw a points loss (after a brawling 15-round contest) to Joe Bugner, who wasn't ever particularly liked or rated by the UK crowds. 

Vinnie Jones was a noted footballer from 1984 - 1999 playing for a number of clubs (Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United...) and played for Wales. 

Multi-talented, he is now an actor and presenter in blockbuster films such as Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and many other starring roles.

Although generations apart - they are both the face of Brut.

Launched by  Faberge in 1964, it was very popular in the 1970s. I must admit, I do like a dash of Brut, with its fresh, distinctive smell. 

It's still battling against the big names in the world of odor cologne. (Don't forget that the contents of any aftershave cost less than the manufacture of the bottle!) 

I have been to a good few casinos and after a hefty session, where losing money only comes second to heavy-sweating and the consumption of copious amount of alcohol, I was struck by the waft of a man-who-wears Brut. 

It was a welcome relief.  

My thoughts of a gambler who wears Brut are of a man in his fifties, a wad of cash in his pocket and a nostalgia for the good old days where men were men and women were women and political correctness hadn't been given birth. 

Here's my image of the Brut gambler.

A man who isn't swayed by fashion and never bets online loving the race track or brick-and-mortar casino in favour of some mysterious app on a phone. 

If you're looking to transform your man, whether birthday, Christmas or bar mitzvar then buy your budding gambler a bottle of Brut. 

Who knows, he may turn into a gambling hero of the likes we have never seen before. 

If all else fails, at least he will smell nice.

Read our last brilliant post: Betting on your Faith

Betting Like Ian Dury & The Blockheads

In a desert of Sudan

And the gardens of Japan

From Milan to Yucatan 

Every woman, every man

I think this was the coolest moment of my life. The sad part was that I didn't realise at the time. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick was released in 1978. It was the first record I ever owned. I think it was purchased for my brother and I by Uncle Roy. Such a lovely man, my Dad's brother, who sadly passed away from a heart attack in his early 40s. There really is no fairness in life, at times. 

Like all the people we have loved and lost he is in my heart and mind. 

Thank you for all you did to make my life special. 

At the age of nine you have a pretty simplistic view of life. I guess it varies from one kid to the next. 

I remember years later, running for my school and one of the sprinters had a beard and sideburns. He was over six-foot tall, a stride of a giraffe and won the 100 metre in impressive style. 

He was 14. 

Maturation has a lot to answer for. 

I loved the song: Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick. I must have driven my parents mad playing it time after time on the old record player. It was a 7'' vinyl (45). Three minutes and forty-three seconds of pure enjoyment. 

Like most things, vinyl records went out of fashion before becoming trendy again. 

Mum wouldn't let us play the B-side: There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards in case it corrupted our minds even more than they already were. 

I remember my cousin used to buy all the latest hits. If you ordered them, you could get your chosen record in different colours, rather than the generic black. He had all these neon-coloured records in pink, green and orange. To be honest, I can't remember if they had other colours. Being one of few kids with the patience to wait for a neon vinyl record to arrive at the shop, he found his record collection worth a small fortune some thirty or forty years on. 

I wonder if he had a few hit singles from Ian Dury And The Blockheads? 

I had no idea what this hit song was all about. I liked the sound of it. It was a powerful song and I liked the ferocity it was sang. 

The song came from the album Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (1977).

Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick was written by Dury and Chaz Jankel and the groups most successful single. 

It reached No 1 in the UK Charts in January 1979 (our birthday is on the 13th, so it must have been a present for that occasion). 

It was a hit around the world and has sold over 1 million records. However, it took until 2004 when downloads were made available as it had stalled at 979,000 on the original chart run.   

It was originaly held at number 2 for a couple of weeks by the the Village Peoples' smash hit Y.M.C.A.

At the age of nine, I just loved the song and Ian Dury & The Blockheads. I didn't realise that he had contracted polio at the age of seven, most likely from a swimming pool at Southend-on-sea during the 1949 polio epidemic. His illness resulted in the paralysis and withering of his left leg, shoulder and arm. 

What's interesting is that Dury went to Chailey Heritage Craft School, for disabled children, who believed in toughening them up, which contributed to his observant and determined outlook on life. 

And that's what I loved about Ian Dury. 

Although someone who could have given up on life and considered himself at disadvantage you couldn't have been further from the truth. 

He lived life to the full and displayed a winning attitude and an exceptional talent in all he did. 

If anything such disadvantage proved to be his advantage. 

Ian Robins Dury passed away on the 27th March 2000 at the age of 57. 

Someone to admire.

Life & Death in Las Vegas

I can't say I have ever been to Las Vegas. 

Being a fan of Hunter S. Thompson I've read the book and watched the film: Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.  

Would I like to go there? I guess I'd like to see what all the fuss is about. They say you shouldn't stay for more than three nights. 

Your guess is as good as mine regarding why that fourth day is, potentially, so problematic.

I can imagine:

Is 72-hours enough time to lose all your money?

Enough time to say 'I Do' to an Elvis Presley look-a-like. 

Be accosted by a prostitute and ripped off. 

Beaten up by a pimp. 

Or, shot dead. 

You will notice that nothing bad has ever happens in Las Vegas! Nothing negative is ever reported. It's against the law. Literally. There are no robberies, suicides, mass shootings... 

Nothing happens in Nevada. Well, nothing bad. Only life-changing, positive moments of winning, getting married and it's happily ever after.

They don't want any bad PR. 

So don't ask too many questions. 

I remember watching one of the episodes of Louis Theroux, Gambling In Las Vegas. You're greeted by an array of sad people with even sadder stories. A place where your friends taunt you with lyrics from Kenny Roger's song, The Gambler, until you either rob a bank, kill a croupier, jump off the top of the Bellagio Hotel or just book your flight to do it all over again next year.

Theroux, forever straight-faced, asked a guest how much money they had lost. 

''Ten!''

''Dollars?''

''No, thousand!''

Or the old women who played the slots and lost millions and laughed about the loss of her son's future inheritance. 

If ever a women needed to trip down a long flight of stairs, she was the ideal candidate. 

Nothing stops the money-making juggernaut. 

An armed robbery took place in one casino where a gun went off as a security guard wrestled with an assailant, a tourist in the wrong place at the wrong time, shot in the head, killed instantly, laying in a pool of blood. 

The casino was shut for 20-minutes as the body was removed, a square of blood-stained carpet removed and replacement glued down as if nothing ever happened. 

Not a word in the local papers, news channels, anywhere.

''Did you hear about the person shot dead at that casino the other night?''

''No. It didn't happen!''

Nothing stops the pursuit of making easy cash. 

Not even Kenny Roger's playing a new tune on an old fiddle. 


Read our last magnificent post: The Richest People on Planet Earth

The Richest People on Planet Earth?

How do we measure the worth of a person?

In today's world your worth, my worth, their worth is based on bank balance. As they say, money talks. Even from a religious point of view the Bible says: ''Money answereth all things.'' 

But, remember, that is all things you can buy. 

And we all know, the most important things, relationships with others, often have little to do with pounds, shillings and pence. 

(I know they do too, but you know what I mean).

It often makes me wonder what the richest people on planet Earth are all about: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. 

How much money do you need? 

Perhaps all of these people get a bad press. Perhaps they get a good press. I'd like to think they are very generous giving money to help others, support charities and making the world a brighter place. 

I have no idea what they do. 

It would be a sorry state of affairs if they were truly mean spirited like a modern-day Scrooge. 

Something tells me they are not.

My approach to having such wealth would be finding ways to give it away to people who really need it but in a way that helps them look after themselves. 

The fishing rod rather than the fish.

It doesn't do anyone a favour to be dependent on others so the only way they get money is when they have a disaster because you will find their life is one long disaster and they will eternally follow a road to the poor house and skint because of a lack of learning as much as wealth. 

Year's ago, while studying for a degree in Psychology with the Open University I worked one day a week at the Isle College, in my birth town of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire. 

They used to say the capital of the Fens had a worse crime rate than New York for population. 

The special needs class, had plenty of male students but very few male Learning Support Assistants which didn't help when every Wednesday they went swimming and needed a bloke to keep to an eye on proceedings and make sure no one went absent without leave (so to speak). 

While Tom swam one mile a hour, I struggled with a twenty lengths or so...

I'd never worked within education or with students with special needs. From being a past student when taking an Access Certificate to Higher Education it was a place I was very familiar and would lead my journey back into education and, years later, my prized degree. 

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. 

Without realising it, I walked into a classroom, more nervous than the students, and met some of the most magical, insightful and wonderful young people I could ever wish to find. 

Young men and women from late teens to their early twenties. 

The most accepting, humourous, funny and loving, intelligent, humans on Earth. 

Rich, they would make Elon Musk look like a cheap aftershave. 

Weeks past and I was one of the gang. I was there to supervise but it was more like having a day out with your mates. Well, a day out at the College. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of the mainstream students thought I was one of the special people. If they did, I took it as a compliment. 

I worked closely with two students. I won't mention their names for obvious reasons. 

Clark* was a young man in his early twenties: tall, beautiful hair, chiseled cheek bones and defined jaw line, model features. You wouldn't believe this, but knowing different shapes can change your life.

I mean, who would believe such a story?

It's true. 

He, like many of the students, had been in the care system from an early age and had the opportunity to find a very loving family. However, this decision would be made in court. The future of this young man was in the hands of a judge. 

Thank heavens for the trapezium!

It may have been the boid, rhombus or pentagon. 

Clark had a fascination with shapes. I think he was a Professor of Shapes. You could have unveiled the most obscure shape you've ever seen (or not).

He knew it. 

Instantly.

If someone said ''scutoid'' I'd be convinced it was a body part.

In fact, sitting next to him in class, I felt seriously lacking. If their had been a test on shapes the whole class new who would be getting A+. 

The family court judge thought the same. 

At the court hearing, Clark had his box of shapes, showing the world and his wife (and the judge) that there wasn't a shape in the universe that he didn't know. 

As soon as the judge witnessed the Professor of Shapes doing his thing, he didn't need to think too long or hard. 

He knew more shapes than the judge! 

What could he say. 

''Have a wonderful life, young man, it's time to go home.''

The other young man was incredible. For such a young life he had so many operations on his feet and legs. When changing for swimming, the scars where painful to see. However, nothing could dampen his spirits or his gift to me, you and everyone who took a moment to feel his nuclear energy couldn't help but smile and feel their heart swell with pride. 

He was the most humourous person I have ever met. It was like the best ten comedians you have ever seen wrapped up in a body that didn't work perfectly, but like the bald man using his bonce as a prop he took everything in his slightly-limping stride. 

Once in the class I asked him to write a few words. He wrote a scribble and was pleased with his effort. It said exactly what I had asked (to him). It looked like the signature of Warren Buffett. 

It didn't matter a jot. 

Becuase as I walked with this young man to the refectory, everyone who saw him had a smile on their face, new his name and clearly loved him. 

In fact, when we entered the refectory (stage doors), it was like an audience had seen the star act appear. The beaming smiles, people waving, saying his name...and in return they saw the man himself shine like the brightest star. He waved, blew kisses and after deciding what looked the best thing on the menu we sat down for lunch. 

What I learned is that the richest people come in all shapes and sizes, and they are just waiting for you to realise who they are. 

Someone special.

Read our last post: Birds, Booze & Bookies

Gambling like a Goldfinch


I'm a bit of an ornithologist. 

That's your common or garden birdwatcher. 

People like what they like, hey. I find it difficult to understand why many people don't enjoy wildlife, but they may wonder why I don't wear a Made In Chelsea t-shirt and look like a dick. 

That's just my idea of a joke. 

I enjoy wildlife because it brutally honest, often to a harrowing level. I guess it's that way because compared to the majority of the human race we are one-step removed from the hunter gatherer mentality. In the sense we go to the butchers to buy a leg of lamb rather than shoot it with a bow and arrow. 

What I like about nature is that evolution creates a little, beautiful, goldfinch with the gift to survive. Biologically, instinctively and behaviourally it is cutting-edge.

In essence, it is exceptional at living within nature. 

You try it for a month, you have lost the aptitude. 

If you were as good a gambler as a goldfinch is being a goldfinch you would be the best gambler on planet Earth. 

It would be your life, and those of your ancestors. You would be bred to be the best gambler in the world. 

What would such a person look like?

You wouldn't believe your eyes. 

If this person played blackjack they would know when to bet with the most effectiveness and efficiency. 

You would sit at the table and you wouldn't be able to comprehend how good they are at winning. You would be mesmerized by the stack of chips before them. But what you would notice as much as their winning would be the way they interact with their environment. In fact, it would be at such a high level of sophistication you wouldn't even be able to see it. The surface structure would hide the deep structure of their ultimate process. Everything would be worked to make the most of every opportunity. 

When you meet a real professional gambler you won't even notice how good they are. Because they incorporated within their mastery an ultimate deception for those who look on from afar. 

The only reality of the observation is the money they win, which they will hide. 

If you wish to be the ultimate gambler, watch a goldfinch, how it lives and works within nature. It will seem foreign compared with our understanding of modern life but if you look through their eyes consider what they see. 

How they think. An understanding built by survival. 

It is almost impossible to appreciate their perception but you can learn so much by questioning and asking why. Imagine for a moment if your life depended on the turn of a card, a bet placed, your success or failure ultimately linked to your existence. 

That card would be viewed from a very different perspective. 

The improvement you will see within your gambling will be beyond your comprehension. 

Within nature we have an opportunity to learn. 

If you don't look in the right direction you fail without understanding. 

The brutality of a world where survival is key to your success details a level of excellence that by its very nature is something you should desire. 

Read our last post: The Richest People On Planet Earth         

Birds, Booze & Bookies...

I heard that quote uttered from the mouth of Terry Mcann while watching an episode of Minder. 

It was made in reference to a rogue football player, very much in the mould of George Best. I guess they didn't want to say his name for legal reasons.

As it happened the actor playing the role of the said footballer was a bronzed and very good looking Karl Howman. He was a big name in TV back in the mid-to-late 80s in Brush Strokes, Mulberry and other worthy dramas. More recently, he played Buster Briggs in EastEnders from 2014 - 2016. 

(What a depressing pile of shite...)

Both Dennis Waterman and Howman now senior citizens haven't aged too badly considering the actor's life must be one of famine or feast. 

When I hear the quote: Birds, Booze and Bookies it reminds me of a turn of phrase from the 1970s. 

A time when men had open-chested shirts, excessive hair and a medallion.

Isn't it strange how these days no one works in factories any more.

Considering the first episode of Minder started in 1979 and the last in 1994 I may be stretching the chronology a touch. Perhaps it was made in reference to years gone by as I'm not sure if Minder was actually set in the present day (as it was back then).

George Cole playing the role of Arthur Daley, the Winchester Club with Dave behind the bar and the only place on planet Earth where you could ask for a VAT and it didn't cost you an additional 20%. 

I hate to say it, but the worst part of Minder was when Gary Webster turned up. If you haven't got a clue who I'm talking about, it's a generational thing.

I guess many of our old TV programs are now struggling with the test of time. It was a different era where you wasn't one of the boys if you didn't say something sexist, racist or dubious every other sentence. 

The only people to adorn a beard were teachers, magicians and pedophiles. 

There's a reason why Alaskan men have a beard. (It's cold!)

In this day and age, John Lennon would have sang: ''A working-class hero is something to be...but you're still f****** peasants as far as I can see...''

But some do-gooder would have changed it to fromage-making peasants...

Fromage is French for cheese. 

How times have changed. 

Once upon a time you could afford to go to the pub and drink 10 pints. 

You'd chat up a bird and they didn't give you the look of the devil because you dared to open a door.  

And bookies were a place punters went to get away from the birds while nipping in and out of the pub to get boozed up. 

I know it's a fact that as we get older the good, old days seem much better, enjoyable, fun and real. 

I guess all future generations will look back and think the same. 

However, I think the day is coming when the youngsters of today look back and forward and say: ''It was shit then, and it's even worse shit now, and the future looks distinctly shitty.''

It's the same with gambling. 

In the old days win, lose or draw punters just got on with it. They appreciated - however hard - that if they done their dough it was their own stupid fault. 

Bookmakers and gambling has changed into a mirage of caring. When the shit hits the fan, wipe your arse and stop eating curries...''

The bookmakers follow sport around like a dark cloud with a pretend rainbow flickering like an old gal lighting a fag. Look closer and you see the cloud is made of cotton wool, air-sprayed for realism, a splodge in a blue sky hiding a shoal of hungry piranha.

Bookmakers are not what they seem. 

They have nothing to do with gambling and all about manipulation of the people they call customers. 

I don't know about you, but I'd quite like to go back to the days of Birds, Booze and (True) Bookies. 

I'm sure John Lennon would ask: Where the f*** has Honest Joe disappeared to?

Somehow, it was a very different world.

Read our last post: You Can't Have A Big Appetite In Someone Else's Refrigerator

You Can't Have A Big Appetite in Someone Else's Refrigerator

You know, I often watch Judge Judy. 

One American lady who knows what's right from wrong and puts people their place. I can't help but think she would make a great President of the United States. Every country needs a judge who follows the rules with truthful and often cutting, humourous comments. 

She's a good judge of character. 

Anyway, I love her quotes. 

One of her favourites being: ''No good deed goes unpunished!''

I know from experience this is true. That's why I have very little interest in most people and keep good deeds to a minimum unless I am pretty damn sure the person would do the same for me. I treat people as they treat me. For that reason, takers, idiots, jokers, scammers and lunatics should take an about turn five miles before entering my air space. 

I love all those good, kind, generous & decent people. 

Judge Judy said of one plaintiff: ''You can't have a big appetite in someone else's refrigerator.''

She's correct. 

It's the same in the gambling world and giving information, especially when it is free. 

As my good friend Eric Winner says: ''There are too many takers.''

I hate to say it, but there is a glut of people who feel they can take with abundance and very, very, very infrequently say thank you. 

It shouldn't be a surprise when I read that people who purchase items seldom give a review. It's about one in a hundred. And, I suspect they are the ones who give one star and comments to wreck the chance of anymore sales. 

I guess if you are giving stuff away you shouldn't have much of an expectation. In fact, I'm pretty sure the hardest sell is giving something away for free. And if you are looking for a pat on the back you may find it's on the arse as you've grown three feet in the passing years. 

Basically, you can't have rich tastes if you don't have money in your pocket. It's like going round a friends for the evening and while they pop out to get a few cans of beer you eat everything in the fridge. 

It's not the done thing. So what, you were hungry!

The next time you take something for free - appreciate the time, cost or money it took to keep you informed.

Read our last magnificent post: Betting Like The Man Who Wears Brut

Betting on Your Faith

I wonder if you believe in God?

The 17th century French philosopher, scientist, mathematician, and probability theorist argues that if you don't know whether God exists then we should play it safe than risk being sorry. 

Pascal's wager. 

Decision theory. 

I doubt many readers think about religion and God. Although, I'm sure you have said a prayer when times get tough or all hope seems lost. 

I like the word faith. 

Whether it is a belief in a higher power, the laws of nature, spiritualism or yourself. It is something we should respect. 

In truth, faith is a positive in my life. The belief in myself and learning what's needed to make a profit betting on two-year-old horse racing has taken years to understand. These last two or three years have added dramatically to my knowledge. 

Make no mistake knowledge is power. 

Without wisdom you are lacking. If you are lacking you are second best to the average.

To be a winner you don't need to be the best gambler in the world. You can't even see your opponent but they are there. 

Without faith in your own ability you will not be able to achieve any goal. You will be hampered by a lack of knowledge, and even if you have ability a lack of faith will diminish your chance of reaching the highest levels. This is very much a mental barrier. 

Let's take laying horses at big odds to lose. 

It can be an uncomfortable way to bet when contrasted to betting to win. The latter seems more easy to stomach in ways. Although laying horses to lose can be a very good way to make money even if you are waiting for your socks to be blown off. 

I've had a single race where I have made £100+.

On the other side of the coin I've had a single race that cost me more than £700. 

I laid a number horses to lose £2,000+. You don't want to see them flying at the finish. Although you shouldn't be surprised if they do.

I am confident I will win but that doesn't mean I am guaranteed to put money in my pocket. Horses aren't machines. If the favourites run no race - you are at the mercy of some beast being just good enough. 

Don't think it cannot happen - because it can. 

You simply have faith that long term your judgment it right. 

Just like Pascal, you need a little faith. And even if your faith is uncertain it's often best to follow the most logical approach based on probability. 

Are you a believer?

A Treasure Map From Outer Space: A Gambler's Perspective

As the man said: ''People will kill for this!''

So what's the man talking about?

A Treasure Map from outer space. Literally. While flying in space, Gordon Cooper, observed shipwrecks from the spacecraft of the legendary Mercury 7 flights. Who would have believed it. He gave this map to his good friend who is on the quest to find billions of pound in hidden treasure. 

Cooper's Treasure. 

I think one of my greatest impressions of this flight makes man feel rather small and insignificant to see all of the great beauties that there are available to see from space, and realise just how small one individual is compared to this great universe.

Gordon Cooper, Mercury 7.

The map helped identify shipwrecks, later discovered, worth half a billion pounds, and more to come. 

So what can this tell us about gambling and winning?

Who would have thought you could narrow down your search for gold, silver and precious stones on a shipwreck from several thousand feet in the sky?

So, perhaps, looking from afar can help you find something that you couldn't see in front of your nose. 

Could this be the same for you?

From my horse racing perspective, I can understand how this perspective can help find gold. In fact, I know one gentleman who has done the same in what could well be the ''millionaire system''. 

You think I'm kidding, I couldn't be more serious.

And that's the importance of this post. It isn't telling you how to make a million pound gambling but it is very much the story of those gamblers who have thought about horse racing, poker, blackjack, slot machines or whatever subject you can imagine - from their own perspective. 

The gold is waiting for you. 

It's not going to be easy to find but it's like a shipwreck that's easier to see from outer space.

One thing that surprises me and it will surprise you too, there is a million ways to look at the same thing. And each of those perspectives could lead you to riches. Very few people dig below the surface. If you don't get beyond the everyday data that the likes of the Racing Post reader digests on a daily basis, you are lost. 

Very few punters, gamblers, investors dig that little bit deeper but that is where the money is hidden. Just like the sea, the gold and silver sink deeper into the mud. 

You will be amazed what you can find. Basically, your own unique way of assessment which leads to cutting-edge knowledge. Your very own data that is akin to a treasure map where x marks the spot.

The truth is in the sand. 

If you want to prove it, prove it. 

Read our brilliant post: Why Mathematicians aren't the best Gamblers at the Casino

Why Mathematicians aren't the Best Gamblers at the Casino

Surely, the best person to win at the casino is a mathematician?

Because they are the best at math and probability - which must be the key to negating the house edge.  

However, for all of their knowledge, that assessment doesn't really give a true answer. 

In fact, such thinking may be flawed. 

Let me explain. 

For example, no mathematician can change a negative into a positive. As seen with the game of roulette, there are 18 ways to win but 20 ways to lose. 

You would need to be a magician to change those odds. 

Also, there are few mathematicians (such as Albert Einstein) and lots of mathematics teachers. They are very different people. 

Probability can be used to understand what may well happen but gambling is also random. You noticed that black or red is almost 50% but look how many times one colour comes up in a row. Supposedly, the longest recorded streak of one colour in roulette in America casino history happened in 1943 when the colour red won 32 consecutive times.

There is more to winning at gambling than simply math. However, probability is something any budding gambling should understand. You will probably lose more quickly without it.   

Edward O. Thorp  - a math professor - invented card counting. It is believed he was one of the richest mathematicians and achieved an annual return of +20% on his investments. He did this for over 30 years. 

The problem, these days, is that your card counting is likely to be noticed by the casino and they will often tell you to bet level stake or leave. 

One regular observed by the casino. They said: ''We know what you are doing and if you don't bet level stake you will be asked to leave.''

Often mathematicians cannot beat the house simply because they created the games in the first place. 

The strength of any gambler is to win early and stop playing. 

You are almost certain to lose money long term.

Read our last magnificent post: Sweet Smell Of Success

The Sweet Smell Of Success

It's not every day you bump into a man who is eight-feet tall. 

A towering beast of a man, as wide as most people are tall, his face covered by a big bushy beard and fetish for wearing leather. I was tempted to say he looked like a super-sized member of the the Village People but I wouldn't say it to his face. When he walks down any street, people turn and stare. He literally stands head and shoulders above the tallest person you have ever seen. 

But the strangest thing, as he walked past me I was hit by the a faintest smell of...lavender. 

Why would a hulking man smell like your great aunt or a small child eating parma violets? 

Perhaps I just have a very sensitive nose. 

Anyway, there's a fascinating story to told and I'm going to tell you this intriguing chapter. 

To protect the interests of this man I won't say his name or where he lives. Although if you see an eight-foot giant down the street or at a local casino, he could well be your man. If he has a sweet perfume wafting as he passes on by then it's odds on he's in your vicinity. 

Whatever you do, don't talk to this man or mention this post as my life won't be worth living. 

If he knocks on my door and I'm playing In The Navy on my vintage record player the front door may be lifted off its hinges, followed by may arms and legs being thrown in different directions. 

Anyway...

Added to the mix of truly contrasting thoughts, he is a professional poker player. 

Now, I'm not saying I met this character at Great Yarmouth, but I did notice a great white shark had escaped from the Sealife Centre.

I'm not exactly sure which type of poker he plays because it's not my thing. But he's had some big wins. However, he only plays live matches and his ability to win online is dire. 

He is one of these rare breed of people with an exceptional sense of smell. 

This may have been a natural phenomenon but it has been a skill honed by desire. 

I fact, his sense of smell is so acute that he's the only man I have ever met who uses the word hyperosmia and a student of aromachology. 

Here's the strangest thing, if you sat next him at the card table you wouldn't smell the slightest hint of lavender. However, to him it's like he's walking through field in Provence, France, in mid June. 

As the cards are dealt, he senses a very distinctive smell. 

Unsurprisingly, a smell of lavender. 

That sweet smell of success. 

Be assured that no one in the room has the slightest sense of any aromatic, except, perhaps, from last night's curry working its way through the pipes. 

However, if he's sitting with a pair of kings and aces, you may well see his noise twitch as he takes a deep breath and knowing smile. He can sense the card that sits before him makes a full house even before he has turned it over. 

He goes all in and says to his opponents with disdain: ''Your luck stinks.''

Because throughout the game he covertly marked each of those kings with a dab of lavender which, added to an incredible sense of smell, means he can see those all-important cards as if they were face up. 

Perhaps one in a thousand people have this Midas sense of smell. 

If you're playing cards and get the faintest smell of lavender waft your way, take a closer look at the players around the table. If you see one of the Village People caressing his cards with a smile on his face you just bumped into my nemesis. 

Good luck. 

Read our last magnificent post: Jack Allen's Winning Formula

Jack Allen's Winning Formula


I knew Jack because he was a very good friend of Dad. Originally from the city of Waterford in the Republic of Ireland. 

I have no idea when he came to England, but he got married to the love of his life Mary and Jack worked for British Rail, as a gate man at the level crossing at Norwood Road, March. For the most part he worked at night. I remembering him saying after 20-years it still didn't feel natural.

In his younger years, he loved a bet and the gang used to frequent the March Cabaret Club & Casino. From stories told by my Uncle Keith (Dad's brother) they used to work hard all week to lose their cash over the weekend, they didn't hold back on the horse racing or greyhounds either. 

It makes me wonder whether people back in the day (70s) gambled with a real passion or lunacy compared to this modern day of 'when the fun stops, stop' mentality. By definition perhaps Uncle Keith et al were gambling addicts in the way they loved gambling rather than it being a problem. 

Without doubt, my uncles loved a drink and it seems the norm to consume 10 - 15 pints a night without thoughts of excess. 

From watching episodes of On The Buses, I would have enjoyed being a man about town in the 1970s. 

A time when you could mention the word bristols without referring to the city just a part of the female anatomy. 

Anyway, my mind had wandered.

Jack loved life and a gamble. A regular haunt for all was the Lord Nelson Public House down Norwood Road. 

As most of the gang lived in that neck of the woods it was ideal. Originally run by Joe and Ivy Case, as babies my brother and I would be in our pram while Dad had a brown and mild while mum may have been drinking a vodka and orange. This was all before political correctness went out of control. I'm sure all this upbringing gave me a respect for gambling and drink and far from a thorn in my side. Too many people do the blame game. 

I'm an infrequent drinker (basically teetotal) and I bet and make money. In fact, my business is all about gambling and I make a fair living from that. 

Anyway, Jack recounted a story from back in the day at a racecourse in Ireland. 

He saw a horse trainer on course and watched as the man put a cigar in his mouth and searching his pockets for a match or lighter. In a flash, quick-thinking Jack, appeared, like magic, in front of the trainer and asked if he wanted a light. 

Appreciating the fact that a good man was there when needed. 

Jack asked of his chance of the runner in the next race. Clearly feeling he was talking to one of his own, he gave him the nod and a winner plus a story to tell budding gamblers like my brother and I. 

A more loving, trusting, friendly, happy and remarkable gambling group of men you couldn't have wished to meet. 

Thank you. 

Tuesday, 1:12 AM (You're Taking A Gamble)

They say time waits for no man. 

In truth, time waits for no one - animal or beast. Not animal, mineral or vegetable. But time does predict certain things and may help reason why some poor soul come unstuck simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

It's one of the reasons why you should consider that life is a gamble. Even if you don't want to face the truth, imagine it's a load of mumbo jumbo or fool yourself that there are no such things as odds to chance. You know, those odds don't just stop at the end of a bookmaker's fingers as he chalks up prices on the board of Honest Joe's pitch on a cold afternoon, Cartmel at 3:45. Funnily enough, you are much more likely to be kicked in the head and die at the hooves of an errant thoroughbred horse if you want to check out your policy with Sun Life (no medical needed before or after the tragedy). Sadly, you won't get much for the price of a cup of coffee. 

Anyway, I'm not getting into all this life's a gamble as I don't really want to bore you to death. 

You may be thinking one time of day is pretty much the same as another. 

However, thinking about it, we all know that isn't true. 

It shouldn't surprise you that the early hours are more fraught with danger than Sunday afternoon, drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches with the vicar of St John's Church. 

If you want to play it safe please lock yourself away every Tuesday night (morning) at 1:12am. (Preferably alone.)

You may be thinking, I'll do what I want. I'm a bloody night owl. I've played Cluedo enough times to know that Reverend Green wasn't attacked by a wretched monkey (I mean monkey wrench) in the billiard room. 

So keep your gambling, death-wishing thoughts to yourself. 

However, you may be gambling with your life. 

Because a detective who worked on homicide all his career decided to work out the day and time you are most likely to be murdered.

Tuesday, 1:12 am. 

If I were you, every Tuesday I'd go to bed at 1:11am, and please don't provoke your spouse 30 seconds later because it's usually your nearest and dearest who want to kill you most! 

(Statistically)

Read our last breathtaking post: The Man With 3 Hats